Chemical Free Home – The Benefits of Steel Wool

Steel wool would be the most popular non-chemical cleaning product in the kitchen. It has many uses around the home as well as in the garage and workshop. It can be purchased from Supermarkets, Hardware stores and major retail outlets.

The wool comes in many different grades suitable for a variety of tasks. Pre-soaped steel wool pads are the most common for cleaning jobs in the kitchen. Stainless wool is also available which lasts an exceptionally long time. Traditional steel wool rusts quickly when in regular contact with water.

Steel Wool In The Home and Kitchen

  • Steel wool can be used for most scouring tasks in the kitchen. All plain steel and aluminium pots and dishes can be cleaned with it.
  • Cutlery can be polished with a superfine wool pad
  • Chrome plated and stainless steel oven and roasting racks can look like new after a scouring with fine or medium grade steel wool. A steam cleaner can be used to assist with softening toughened grime and removed with steelwool.
  • Steelwool is excellent for cleaning stubborn stains from glass and chrome including mirrors. The glass on doors of wood heaters and ovens can also be cleaned with it.

Steel Wool In The Workshop

  • Fine steelwool can be used to clean wood surfaces before staining or varnishing.
  • Buffing varnished surfaces between coats is also ideal for fine wool.
  • Polished wooden surfaces can be brought back to life by re-polishing with a fine grade of steel wool as the buffing agent applicator.

Steel Wool In The Garage

  • The wool is excellent for cleaning chrome on cars as well as mirrors, windscreens, and glass in general.
  • Removing stains and rust from automotive paintwork during pre-paint clean ups is an ideal task for steelwool.
  • Tools can be cleaned and protected by scrubbing with wool which has been dipped into an oil or other lubricant. This greatly increases the life of your garden and workshop tools.

Although its a very versatile cleaning product, steel wool does have its disadvantages.

  • Use caution when using on soft metals.
  • Do not use on painted surfaces that will not be repainted. Scratching will be permanent in the painted surface.
  • Wearing rubber gloves is advisable to avoid small pieces of metal digging into your fingers. This is common and can be very painful.
  • Standard wool can rust easily and quickly. Several ideas have surfaced over the years for how to prevent this. The best method I have found is to soak the steelwool pad fully covered in water and replace at least once per week. The stainless steel version of the wool lasts much longer but is substantially more expensive.

© Eric J. Smith